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Wait to see who is helped by health-care reform

Rosita Velez seems like just the sort of person federal lawmakers had in mind when they included a provision in the sweeping health reform law creating new high-risk insurance pools for people who are uninsured and have serious health problems.

Velez has not seen a doctor since losing her health benefits after being laid off by AT&T in 2008. The 34-year-old Bridgeport resident no longer fills the four prescriptions she needs for rheumatoid arthritis. Instead, she soaks her hands and feet in hot water.

Right now, Gov. M. Jodi Rell and top state health officials are trying to determine whether Connecticut residents like Velez would be a better off under a state-run high-risk insurance pool or a federally-run program. Some outside experts say a federal program might be better, but not enough information is publicly available to determine how much someone like Velez would have to pay in monthly premiums.

Indeed, Velez, who barely scrapes by right now on her limited income, might not be able to take advantage of this new program at all, no matter who runs it.At issue is a provision in the federal health-care overhaul that called for the creation of new high-risk insurance pools, designed to provide coverage for people with pre-existing group health insurance conditions and who have been without insurance for at least six months.

Congress established a $5 billion pot of money to create the new insurance pools and gave states the option of running their own program or having the federal government run it for them.The high-risk pools are a stop-gap measure, set to expire in 2014, when insurers will no longer be able to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and will be required to charge those patients standard rates.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 20th, 2010 at 6:35 am and is filed under Health Insurance. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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